by Jeff Skinner
I love watching the pros play golf, I really do. I’ll watch any tour, PGA, LPGA, Champions, Euro, Nationwide, it doesn’t matter. I’ll watch and enjoy them all. But I felt very strange yesterday as I watched a little of The Memorial. For me this tournament ranks up there really close to the majors. Seeing Jack Nicklaus showcase his baby, Muirfield, and listening to him all week is the best. But yesterday brought out a side of me I didn’t like.
Most of the time I’ll cheer for whatever golfer is swinging the club. It doesn’t matter who The Golf Channel or CBS is showing I am hoping that golfer executes a good shot. Even when I am on the course, playing for a few bucks, I rarely root against my opponent. I want them to make good shots but I want to make a better one. However, during the short time I was watching the boys at Muirfield yesterday I was rooting against a golfer. I was hoping he would make a poor shot and when he did I liked it. I never thought it would come to this but I was rooting against Tiger Woods.
Last year at this time I was one of the gazillion Tiger fans. Like everyone else I was amazed by his golfing skills and his mental toughness. I knew we were watching a once in a lifetime golfer. Even as he hunted down my hero Nicklaus, I couldn’t help but appreciate the greatness that was his. But with his scandal revealing a man that was so contrary to his “image” I am finding it difficult to fall back in line with the other Tiger fans.
Is it wrong to root against Tiger? I don’t know, but I don’t like the fact that he has brought out a darker side in me. There are so many positive stories on the PGA Tour. There are so many likable players, that’s one of the aspects that makes the tour so much fun to watch. But Tiger was always fun to watch. His ability to make the shot at the most pressure filled moment and his ability to always be in contention brought him more fans and adulation than any golfer ever. But I am still having issues with him. I guess I am still pissed off that I was dumb enough to buy into everything that Tiger sold us. I am upset that he was able to perpetrate a hoax on me and millions of others. I’ve seen Tiger play many times and there was nothing to compare it to when you are with him in person. He was a rock star and the President all rolled into one. The atmosphere was electric wherever he was. I am upset that I was duped and cheated by Tiger.
Maybe it will pass in time, maybe not. But if Tiger doesn’t scale back his arrogance and change his ways and show some humility like he said he was going to I am probably off the Tiger band wagon for good. I’ll still appreciate his great shots on the course but I am still waiting for him to become a better man. He may find his golf game soon enough but he has certainly lost his humanity and he needs to find it, soon. I’ll hold off on cheering for him until he does.